Transcript: Address to the Vancouver Board of Trade: It's time for free and open trade in Canada
(Industry Canada signature and Canada wordmark)
Free and Open Trade in Canada
Address to the Vancouver Board of Trade
(Inset video of Minister Moore addressing the audience. Canadian and British Columbia flags are on both sides of a podium. A sign on the podium reads "Jobs and Opportunities." The backdrop is a blue panel with the Vancouver Board of Trade name and logo repeated.)
(Shots of audience members mingling. Minister Moore approaches the podium.)
Voice of female host:
Please join me in welcoming Minister James Moore.
(Minister Moore stands behind the podium. From time to time during the Minister's speech, we see the audience's reactions.)
Hon. James Moore: Thank you very much for the kind and generous introduction. I certainly very much appreciate that.
The Honourable James Moore
Minister of Industry
Since 2006, our government has pursued the most aggressive free trade agenda that any government in this country's history has seen.
Today, we have free trade agreements with 43 countries, and the sad reality is that today, we provide greater trade benefits to foreigners who want to do business east-west within the country under legal protection than we provide for Canadians who want to do business within Canada on an east-west axis.
We have too many trade barriers to commerce, trade mobility and to growth within Canada.
For example—Iain touched on it—try driving a transport truck across this country and you'll soon discover what the problem is. Provinces have different rules on truck weights and dimensions, various requirements for sizes of tires. Fuels are different in every province in this country.
We are the second largest country in the world in size. We try to do commerce all across this country, and yet we don't have basic transportation standards nationalized and harmonized across this country.
This leads to firms focusing their economic growth plans on a north-south axis, not on an east-west axis. And as a result, we hinder their economic growth and we hurt Canada's economic integration.
So Canada, in my view, needs a far more aggressive and bold policy framework to break down trade barriers within Canada. Foreign firms operating in Canada should not have a systemic advantage over Canadian firms that are operating in Canada.
I put forward a position paper [on] the Government of Canada website, all the usual social media stuff, to make the argument and to push forward, so that we do take advantage of this opportunity.
Let's allow Canadians to do business within this country.
The Province of Ontario is coming to the Government of Canada, and we're partnering with them, and we're expanding our free trade agreement with the United States. We're moving with the Atlantic provinces on a labour agreement within Atlantic Canada to get people moving around and energize the economy there. And we have the New West Partnership, which is having some successes, but we want them all to be more ambitious as we move forward.
So I'm here, as I said in the beginning, to in part ask you for your help because it's one thing for a group of politicians to talk to each other, but I've been incredibly thankful that John and Iain and others in the business community all across British Columbia and all across Canada have stood up and lent their voices to this push for more free trade within Canada because we can get this done, we can move forward and we can realize this goal.
And I've spoken to chambers of Commerce all across this country over the past six months on this file from Regina to St. John's. I've been all across this country pushing and fighting for this because I need all of your help. I need all of you to stand up and push for this.
As I said, the job of Confederation is not done. Uniting this country politically, socially and economically is not done. And what's next is this. What's next is as we go forward to 2017 and we head into our 150th birthday, that we actually do cement these ties, that these ties actually do matter and they do get realized and that we are creating jobs in every part of this country.
Thank you for your time.
(Iain Black, President and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade appears. He is standing in front of a Canadian flag and a Vancouver Board of Trade backdrop.)
The Vancouver Board of Trade
Iain Black: The message of Minister Moore today is one that the members of the Vancouver Board of Trade have been waiting to hear for an awfully long time. The fact that there is between $14 and $20 billion a year left on the table economically because we as Canadians can't do business seamlessly with each other without the same standards, without the same regulations and without an absolutely barrier-free mode of commerce is actually embarrassing for a G7 country. And it is so important that this issue gets the profile that it needs, it gets the support of the business community from coast to coast to coast to once and for all turn the page on what has been a good start over 20 years but that actually will move us forward. These efforts must move us forward into a situation where we no longer have to talk about internal barriers amongst the provinces because we will be truly united as a country economically the way we are at the moment with everyone outside of our national borders.
(Industry Canada signature and Canada wordmark)
End of transcript